Rugby clinic a success

  • Mar. 26, 2008 7:00 a.m.

By Eric O’Higgins, Special to the Observer-Rugby coaches on these islands proved their enthusiasm for the game by spending their whole three-day Easter weekend at a coaching clinic in Port Clements.Ask the obvious question and you are surrounded by enthusiasts telling you why rugby is different than North American football and why rugby is better. Continuity, the chorus sings out, by which they don’t mean that rugby has been played since the 19th Century. They do mean that play on the field goes on almost non-stop instead of by fits and starts the way the armored gladiators on the TV play. They also mean that rugby union (that’s the amateur version) is played from age five to age 90. It has its own language, but basically the ball can be advanced down the field by kicking, running or throwing the ball. No passing forward, please, because this is rugby but sideways as a lateral to a player who’ll run it ahead is good. Don’t dive on a loose ball because a player who is down on the ground has to release the ball and it is up for grabs. That’s the ruck. A scrum forms when one side tries to push the other side back away from the ball. That’s one kind of contact, the other is tackling the player who has the ball. Tackling high is forbidden, which avoids the crunching collisions in football and keeps the risk of injury lower. The clinic was conducted by Jason Young of Abbotsford where there are 1,100 or 1,200 rugby players. Mr. Young himself has six or seven teams to coach and has amassed a great store of tips and formulas to help the local coaches. Mr. Young is very big and strong, but he makes the point that rugby is not just for the large. Big doesn’t dominate on the rugby field where there is a role for players of all sizes. Participants in the Port clinic included: Dr. Peter Lake of Charlotte, Sylvan Daugert of Masset, Corinna Hornidge of Port, Harold White of Masset; Brad Isberg of Skidegate, Gerry Whittle of Charlotte, Sean Babitt of Kumdis and Terry Mitchell of Tlell.

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